CRC researchers working with Hurricane Matthew-affected communities

Since Hurricane Matthew hit the Southeastern U.S. in early October, Coastal Resilience Center researchers have been working with affected states and communities to better withstand the next storm.

In the days leading up to and during the storm, CRC researchers tracked the storm path and predicted storm surge along Matthew’s path up Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina and Virginia. More about how CRC researchers aided in storm impact predictions and immediate response can be found here.

In the intervening months, researchers have begun to work on long-term recovery efforts:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill: CRC Director Dr. Gavin Smith has been asked by the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management to meet with local officials in stricken communities as part of preliminary efforts to assist them develop disaster recovery plans. Dr. Smith has also begun advising the state on disaster recovery policy to include serving on incoming Governor Cooper’s transition team.
  • Robert_Twilley_web
    Dr. Robert Twilley

    Researchers at Louisiana State University who are part of Principal Investigator (PI) Robert Twilley’s project are working with PI Casey Dietrich (NC State University) and CRC Lead PI Rick Luettich (UNC-Chapel Hill) to add measurements from real-time water level stations located along the Atlantic and Northern Gulf coasts to enhance the Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment (CERA) website. The addition of these measurements will allow the researchers to improve the accuracy of the ADCIRC storm surge model  by validating the water levels predicted by  ADCIRC during Hurricane Matthew and the water levels recorded by several agencies. LSU researchers are in contact with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center to gather data for this time period and to provide general station information.

    The CERA website will be updated frequently with new information from water level stations for South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The website presents more than 500 water level stations from NOAA’s National Ocean Service, NOAA’s River Forecasting Centers, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • PI Dr. Jen Horney from Texas A&M, is working with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Horney is currently developing a scope of work to deploy the Disaster Recovery Tracking Tool in several communities in North Carolina. She plans to have researchers on the ground beginning in 2017.
  •  A team led by co-PI John van de Lindt and numerous people from the NIST Center of Excellence at Colorado State University will examine how floods impacted housing stock and population displacement in eastern North Carolina, with an emphasis on zones affected by school flooding and the educational system. They will also study the dependency of community functions on distributed infrastructure networks, such as with flooding of the water treatment plant in Lumberton, N.C. The information collect ed during this field study will link damage to residential structures with population dislocation duration, and include key demographics. They plan to release a report in the spring. The study will be longitudinal in nature, with a part of the team returning in 2017, and approximately every 6 to 12 months during community recovery.

For a recap of CRC forecasting and subsequent work related to Hurricane Matthew, visit our Hurricane Matthew page.